Creating a Slow & Cosy Home with Martina Casonato aka The Venetian Pantry
Martina Casonato is a graphic designer based in North East London who has amassed over 40,000 followers who love to admire her beautiful home on Instagram. Using the moniker @thevenetianpantry, referencing her Italian heritage and her beautifully designed pantry, Martina shares glimpses of her Victorian terrace, talking through her design decisions and sharing the beautifully crafted pieces that she thoughtfully chooses for her home.
We caught up for a chat with Martina, who has shared her advice for creating a beautifully designed home that feels both calm & restful and snug & cosy – perfect for hunkering down during these gloomy winter days (snuggled up in a cosy knit, of course!)
See more of Martina’s home at @thevenetianpantry.
You have a beautiful home that manages to look both calm and cosy. Could you share three tips for making your home feel cosy over the winter months?
I think lighting plays a huge role in setting the mood of a room. My preference, not just in winter but all year round, is always for natural light during the daytime, and low, dim lights strategically placed at night. If you have already installed dimmers on all your light fixtures, great. But if not, a lot can be achieved with floor or table lights, and even (or especially) humble candles.
Speaking of candles – I think there is something so inherently cosy about fire, whether it is in the shape of a wood stove (something I was adamant we ought to have in this house) or a simple candle. I love scented candles, although I am very picky when it comes to fragrances. My preference is for smokey, woody scents, which lend themselves particularly well this time of the year.
Finally, this is the time to layer up, in your wardrobe as well as your home. I always have a good quality blanket in every room (my favourite is a pure Cashmere one which is so light and soft on the skin) and extra slippers at the ready for guests when they come around, so they can join in in the cosiness too.
How do you use colour and texture in your home to create a cosy ambiance?
I suppose cosiness means something different to each of us, but for me, it means a place where I can fully relax. In that sense, I see my home as a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of central London, hence why I chose a basic palette of calming neutrals and off-whites. I prefer to add colour in small accents, like soft furnishing, or through the use of materials such as marble, terrazzo, wood and bricks. I think there is something very grounding about natural materials and earthy tones: perhaps on a primordial level, it makes us feel more connected to our natural habitat. Texture can really help elevate the experience of a space or object too, both visually and from a tactile point of view. Think of the slightly coarse texture of a thick, hand-thrown ceramic mug, or the pattern of a quilted blanket. It adds a level of interest and three-dimensionality to the experience.
What is your favourite room/nook in your home for cosying up and why?
Recently, I have spent a lot of time in our newly spruced-up Den. For the past 3 years (since doing the renovation and moving in), this room has been filled to the brim with boxes from the move and other various miscellaneous objects – including our two bikes. It was in such a shameful state, we used to call it “the monster room” and ban guests from entering. It was such a waste of space, as it is a very charming and bright room – with a pitched roof, a skylight and views of the garden. So last autumn, I set myself the task of freeing this room and revealing its full potential. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s already really cosy – with an antique Victorian desk by the window and our old sofa in the corner. I love working from here, and taking breaks curled up on the sofa. In fact, I barely leave this room during the day. I’m determined to make up for all the time lost!
What are your favourite ways of slowing down at home during winter?
For me, nothing beats a hot bath in winter. I think it’s such a simple luxury and so soothing to both my body and mind. My bath is generously deep (ideal for full submersion) and I love to add scented bath salts, light a few candles and take a book in with me. It’s a weekly ritual I really cherish.
You seem to take a slow and considered approach to designing your home. How do you decide on new items to bring into your home?
I tend to rely a lot on my gut instinct. Sometimes the lightning strikes and I fall head over heels for an object I see in a shop or online, and I feel it in my core that that piece is meant for me. This was the case with the antique painting that hangs in my bathroom, an 1800’s nude portrait I sourced from an antiques dealer in Rye. Other times, I go through long processes of research to find the right piece. I am currently on the lookout for an antique tall cabinet for the Den, and after scouring the web long and wide, I still haven’t managed to find “the one”. So I wait. I think it’s important to take your time, finding a piece that truly makes your heart sing is well worth the wait.
How do you keep yourself warm and cosy at home when it’s cold outside?
Lots and lots of teas! I have quite the tea collection stocked in my pantry (it takes up exactly a third, believe it or not), so that’s something I’ll never run out of. I often suffer from back and neck tension, so my trusted seed neck pillow is a winter must for me. Blankets and throws are always at the ready by the sofa. And then, of course, lots of layers in my clothing! I love a good quality knit (wink wink)…
Shop Martina’s GS knitwear edit here:
Follow Martina’s Instagram for more slow and cosy home inspiration.
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